4:15- Increasing Our Reach: Designing To Grab and Retain Players
RandyApparently this is the keynote. Speaker rants off a charming intro about not being that indie, and his fears that the crowd will rush the stage and attack him (well that’s kinda what he was implying. he wasn’t that explicit).

This year his company released “Spider: the secret of blah blah manor.” It uses a design philosphy he calls “Immediacy with depth” (first 10 minutes should always be awesome, while depth brings you back). his focus is on applying this to iPhone games. Continue reading

Posted in GDC.

3:30 – 5th Cell: from mobile to handheld & beyond (scribblenauts) (summary)
I had to run across from North hall basement to South Hall mezzanine, with zero time break, so i showed up 7 minutes late.
I thought this talk turned out to be a waste of time. but maybe I missed something in beginning?

raw notes:
Drawn to life led to many inquiries about making kid’s games. so they made Lock’s Quest to break out of the paradigm. (he asked for a show of hands as to who had played Lock’s Quest. I had the sense no one raised a hand. What the hell is Lock’s Quest?). Continue reading

Posted in GDC.

3:00pm- Code of Everand: Designing the Serious Casual MMO (summary)
Code of Everand GuyI thought this talk was excellent.

Essentially, the speaker works for a hip NY group, who usually do real world events. They were approached by UK government agency to develop something about road safety which kids could actually respect. They chose to go for a fantasy video game, and focus on sneaking in the “teaching” under guise of metaphor and fun. Continue reading

Posted in GDC.

1:45pm- Meta-Game Design: Reward Systems that Drive Engagement (summary)
Rewarding Lady SpeaksThis talk moved fast, and seemed more business (“user manipulation”?) minded. She presented a diagram which designated three levels of game (representing player interaction? feedback?). basically:

1. Experience points (represent the time player puts in)
2. Skill points (player’s demonstrated ability),
3. Influence points (player’s friends and sharing). Continue reading

Posted in GDC.

11am:Google Phone Line-

The Line beginsI raced over to South Hall and discovered a huge mob of people already in line for the Google Phone. Literally hundreds (if not thousands).

Found myself standing next to some cool people.
– Daniel Cook – works for Microsoft as well as his own “Lost Garden” projects. He has worked on a game called “Ribbon Hero” for Microsoft, which teaches you about the new office “ribbon” in Word (and other office suite apps?)
– Susan gold – Apparently formed/lead (?) IGDA’s education SIG. Later saw her at the White House session, introducing important people.
– Jonathon Myers – while we discussed learning methodologies and the fine line between fun and factual, he mentioned that I should really read Howard Gardener’s “Multiple Intelligences

Continue reading

Posted in GDC.

Across the hall…

10:30am- Abusing Your Players Just For Fun (summary)My View
This speaker was cool. One of these “hipster indies” that seems more interested in games that are art/expression than … well, fun. I guess.

His slide show featured jarring strobe graphics. He talked about the way in which we enjoy David Lynch movies, and played a clip of the “call me, I’m at your house right now” scene from Lost Highway. Then he pondered what a video game equivalent would be like (Killer7 is basically where he started, though he journeyed off into zillions-of-weird-examples land).

Continue reading

Posted in GDC.

Thought I’d take a break from not writing much about flash programming to dump all my notes from GDC last week. I’ll start and end with an overview, and likely seek to be a bit freakishly detailed in the middle. If anyone would like a more polished/streamlined report, please just let me know.

Overview:Outside GDC South
The annual Game Developer’s Conference takes place down in San Francisco, and is a place for all forms of game developers to share knowledge. Since I develop educational tools that walk the line between fun games and fact-heavy exercises I was rather thrilled to attend this year. There were over 400 sessions (maybe an average of 5-10 overlapping at any given time?). I went through, read each description, and carefully planned a schedule for each day. As part of the pass I had, I’ll be able to access video for all recorded sessions (access begins in a couple weeks, and lasts until next year’s show).

NaturalPoint still has a strong PresenceI’ve gone several times before – manning a booth for local Corvallis-area Motion Capture wizards NaturalPoint in the expo portion of the show- but I’d never had a chance to actually go in, sit through sessions hosted by legendary game designers, and mull over the thoughts being thrown about.

Anyway. Basically, from around 8am to 6pm each day I ran around between different rooms in the two different buildings (Moscone North and South, joined by an underground hallway) – desperately trying to absorb THE KNOWLEDGE.

Fun Fact:
GDC had 18,250 attendees this year. Continue reading

Posted in GDC.

appears that when you load things, they are a loader object.
you may know you loaded a movie, but flash just stops at “it’s a loader”

I was having a problem recently where: I imported a bunch of .swfs into an array; when little buttons are clicked I wanted to display a certain .swf (from this array). Problem is, they were all displaying at the end of their animation.

I dimly remember a similar problem last year, where I loaded in a bunch of .swfs with sound, and this cacophony of noise blared out while they were loading. it seems they were all playing the moment they were loaded.

Is this a loader thing? or a mistake on my part?

the solution I’ve found is that you have to make the .swf go to it’s 1st frame and play (at the same time you are making it visible). like this:

Note that I have to ‘typecast’ it as a movieclip, or else it won’t let me use this gotoAndPlay function.

Posted in AS3.

short version: don’t import external .swf files into your library

Rant version:
So i’m working on a language project where i need to pull in 78 different animations. These animations show you how to draw a letter, stroke by stroke. (When you click certain letters in a sentence, it will show you how to draw that letter – letters in this foreign language).

I’ve already setup an animation for each letter. I placed each stroke on a separate layer, and animated a simple circle mask to reveal each stroke/layer, in turn. I’ve saved each animation out to it’s own uniquely named .swf file. Each file is usually around 20kb in size.

I just imported 25 of these .swf files into my main project’s library.
– All together, they were 450 KB in my Window’s directory.
– but now the .FLA file I’ve imported into has increased in size : from 1.36 MB to 23.5 MB.
– That’s a 22.14 MB file size increase! what is that, like 17 times as large?

!!! (&*#$%^@%!)

It also seemed to lock up Flash for several minutes while it processed the files. It appears they have been converted to individual key frames – each with it’s own unique instance of the stroke and the mask. T

Soooo, point taken: don’t import .swf files into your library if you can help it. bleargh. Now I’ll go program it to import all these .swf files at runtime, and see how this affects performance. weee! If I don’t write more, then it’s to be assumed this is a much better approach.

Posted in AS3.